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What Is a Blog?
Jan 07, 2005 - Kenneth W. Richards

A recent article stated that only 30% of people who use the Internet know what a Blog is. Since Orvado has recently started offering a "blog hosting" service, we though that we would like to enlighten our visitors who are unaware of this new phenomenon.

"Blog" is Short for Web Log

The term "blog" first came about from the use of "web log". People were keeping a log (or diary) of personal experiences over the course of their day. They put this information on a web site so it would be accessible anywhere in the world. This is how the term "web log" first began.

The problem with this is that the term "web log" is also used to describe the server logs that a web server (like IIS or Apache) keeps on the local filesystem. For this reason, they needed to change the name to eliminate the confusion. By shortening it into one word (blog,) they were able to accomplish this.

Components of a Blog

Modern day blogs usually have the following components:

  • Top N entries displayed on the home page in reverse chronological order
  • A comment system for visitors to leave comments about a post
  • Link to monthly archives of past blog entries
  • A calendar showing which days of the current month have entries posted
  • A categorization system for organizing articles by category
  • A search facility to locate entries matching specific keywords
  • A trackback system to link related posts together
  • Permanent links to posts, for cross-linking and search engines
  • A web-based control panel for administration of the blog
  • A template system for putting a new look ("skin") on the web site
Of course these are just a few of the components that make up a good blog. Most good software provides a lot more than just this. These are the primary features that are required for a modern blog software.

Types of Blogs

Although all blogs share the same software, they have many different purposes. While most people write a blog just to talk about their daily life and thing that are going on around the world today, there are many other types of specialized blogs.

Political Blog

A political or activist blog is used to promote a political agenda or to discuss politics with others. In the recent 2004 presidential elections, it is rumored that George Bush paid some popular political bloggers (like Daily KOS) to post complimentary entries in their blogs.

Sports Blog

A sports blog can be centered around a specific sport, sports league, team, or even a specific player. Entries usually discuss recent games played, season standings and future prospects.

Educational Blog

Experts in a specific field often start an educational blog to educate people about their line of work. Although there is a vast amount of freely available information that can be found on the Internet, a lot of it is written by amatures. Having an expert's tutorial is really a great asset to the blogging world.

Music Blog

A music blog can be centered around a specific genre of music, or a region-specific sound, a particular artist or band. Most of the entries on this type of blog will revolve around songs, concerts, the artists and their lives. And this is not just limited to music. Anything that has a large fan following can have a successful blog.

Promotional Blog

A lot of companies are using blogs to promote their business by using the blog as a new means of advertising to other people. You can generate traffic to your blog (and thus eyeballs to your advertisements and/or product reviews) by joining a traffic exchange program like Blog Explosion or Blog Clicker.

Of course the purpose of your blog is entirely up to you. The blog software is just a content publishing framework for a web site. You decide the theme or topics for your blog and then you can customize the template to suit your specific needs.

A Blog is a Web Site

A blog is nothing but a web site with a specific purpose. The purpose is to track a series of postings (entries) in chronological order and allow people to discuss the posts. For the blog creator, how the blog is hosted, is a major decision.

The simplist way to get your own blog is to use one of the various free blog hosting services. These include services such as Blogger.com and Typepad. They both offer a free blog hosting service that will allow you to manage all aspects of the blog through your web browser.

This type of "blog service" is not recommended for a professional blogger since it severely limits the author's ability to work directly with the underlying web pages and resources on the server. In most cases, this type of service will not allow you to upload any type of graphic images. Instead, you will need to find a separate service for hosting your pictures.

Be sure to read the "fine print" when choosing a blogging service. It also helps if you use a really popular blogging service such as blogger, because if you ever do decide to pay to have your blog hosted somewhere else, the major blog software like Movable Type will give you instructions on how to export your entries from the service and then import them into your new software.

Hosting Your Own Blog

Hosting your own blog is a good idea because it gives you complete control over every aspect of your blog. It allows you to host images and other resources in the same location where your blog software is running. Also, you can customize your blog software when using open-source blogging software like Movable Type.

I've also found that having your own host will make your blog more "search engine friendly" and will help get your site indexed quickly. I had my own blog hosted with the Blogger.com service for about four months without being indexed on the search engine. By using my own hosting, I have received hits from multiple spiders in under a month.

Orvado Technologies offers blog hosting for both Movable Type and Word Press. Other solutions are also available, please Contact Us for more information.

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